Consumer Basics

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU)

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a unit of the Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, is the advertising industry’s primary self-regulatory organization responsible for monitoring ad content – across all media channels – directed at children.

In general, CARU, or the Children’s Advertising Review Unit, keeps tabs on advertising directed at children, and issues recommendations to advertisers when ads are deceptive or target children unfairly. But because the CARU is a self-regulatory group, advertisers can ignore its recommendations. CARU is administered by the Council for Better Business Bureaus. aims to make sure that advertising directed at kids is not deceptive, unfair, or inappropriate.  It also has developed a set of Guidelines that cover a range of areas, including sweepstakes and privacy protection.  Despite its wholesome goals and guidelines, however, CARU doesn’t appear to have much bite – it has to rely on the voluntary cooperation of the advertisers in order to seek change.

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